Is there a word or phrase for this? When you take a word and extend the sound of a letter - usually a vowel - to intensify it. Sometimes you might say Helloooo and stretch out the ‘o’ sound. What is this called?


3 Answers 3


It's called (monosyllabic) word elongation or word lengthening.

From The Atlantic Magazine:

Evvvvverywherrrre, from instant messages to texts to tweets and even e‑mails, I see examples of what language watchers call word lengthening. The habit began among teens and 20-somethings, but it is no longer limited to them. Adults are adding o’s to their no’s, s’s to their yes’es, and i’s to their hi’s, to say nothing of a glut of exclamation points. In response to some recent news, my 60-something mom wrote, “LOVE IT AND YOU TOO!!!!” What is going on?


  • Is the Urban dictionary link working? The page is reported as not found from my machine.
    – LPH
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 17:31
  • @LPH: It was working a few hours ago, now it doesn't. Strange. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 17:33

Could this be a special form of onomatopoeia, which is the term for a word that sounds like the sound of the object it describes?

I think that might be stretching the definition (no pun intended), but perhaps there's an argument that "Nooooo" sounds very much like a long denial.

  • 2
    In some cases, it might also be that. But strictly, speaking, it is not that it sounds like what the word names. It is an instruction as to how the word is to be pronounced. In that sense it is, in a way, phonetic. So in a children's story, about a strange balloon ("The Blue Balloon") that is indestructible whatever you do to it. Including, "you can stre-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-tch it". This has nothing to do with the sound the balloon makes. You are made to imitate the elongation of the syllable. So I think "elongation" is the best word for it.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 15:36
  • You have a good point, @Tuffy. As I said, I might have been stre-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-etching it. :-) Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 16:49

It can be referred to simply as "adding letters to words" or more conveniently as "word lengthening".
Reference: Huffpost


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